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DC area food bank seeks donations as holiday season comes to an end; here's how to help

DEC 2022- Central Union Mission food bank in Washington, D.C. (7News)
DEC 2022- Central Union Mission food bank in Washington, D.C. (7News)
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The end of 2022 is only a few days away -- and when the holidays come to an end, food bank donations tend to also drop off.

7News spoke to a Washington, D.C. organization, Central Union Mission, about their challenges and how you can help.

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Central Union Mission says it's seen anywhere from a 50% to 100% increase in people needing help over the past few years.

That need is only growing, but they’re bracing themselves for fewer donations over the next few months.

“Like most charities, we start to see a drop off come the new year. January, February, March tend to be pretty lean,” said Joe Mettimano, the president and CEO of Central Union Mission. “That's the time where we are really looking to up our game with people who are on the streets. So we're hopeful that we'll continue to see that pattern of generosity extend beyond the holidays, but it definitely will be some lean months coming ahead.”

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The nonprofit is prepared and structures its budget around this time of year, but they’re also dealing with a drop in donations post-COVID.

“The homeless continue to suffer in Washington, D.C. There's no way of sugarcoating that it's still a problem and continues to be a problem,” said Mettimano. “Financially, we definitely are starting to come off of the COVID high or the COVID bump that we saw with the donations over the past couple of years. It was a very challenging November and December for fundraising.”

The DMV is in a warming trend, but as the winter continues more people will be searching for shelter. Hypothermia is a concern, plus the holidays can be especially tough for people who aren’t able to be with their loved ones. This can be a depressing time of year.

“You heard about all those jobs that were lost during the height of COVID. Well, a lot of those jobs were on the lower end of the economic spectrum,” Mettimano said. “So if you were one of these people who worked in a food truck or worked in a restaurant or you did office cleaning, a lot of those jobs went away and they're not coming back, which made this holiday season especially challenging for some of the families that we serve a lot of the single moms that we serve.”

So how can you help?

Central Union Mission needs assistance with shelter, food, clothes and job training.

Officials say cash donations are always helpful.

You can also give back by donating goods or volunteering your time.

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Click here for more information on the nonprofit.

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